I’ll be honest. My experience of Second Life is fairly limited. Somewhere on Linden Lab’s virtual world, there’s an inert avatar I created, sat fully clothed in someone’s bath. Sorry about that. The door was open and I got a bit tired of people approaching me and trying to turn me into a busty lady, so I sought refuge in the first empty house I found.
But I’m not really the Second Life type. After seeing Wonderland: Virtual Adultery and Cyberspace Love last night on BBC2, I’m quite glad. So you’ll have to forgive me if I’m not as excited as some people about the launch of Ten Cubed, a new art gallery in Second Life, which goes live here today.
The gallery has been developed by Depo Consulting in association withGalleryica. Don’t get me wrong; it all looks very well designed. “Most virtual galleries are like your average website, poorly designed without any sense of optimising a visitor’s experience,” announced Depo CEO and creative director Peter Dunkley. “Ten Cubed has been designed by a professional architect to exploit fully the showcasing opportunities of the virtual medium.”
I’m sure he’s right. The inaugural show features the work of Chris Ashley, Scott Kildall and Nathaniel Stern, all interesting artists whose use of new technology makes them perfect for this sort of project.
I just don’t get why viewing their work in Second Life is the best place to showcase their work. Dunkley insists the gallery is “perfectly placed to be accessed and visited by business people generally too busy to physically attend art galleries, which should benefit sales”.
Well yes, if you’re the sort of business person who hangs out in Second Life. But after a much publicised credit scam and a run on the virtual bank, the Second Life business model seems to be on shaky ground. And “Second Thoughts on Second Life” editorials have been springing up for over a year now – almost as soon as the mainstream press picked up on it (and about the time my avatar first went for a bath).
So – nice design, nice publicity stunt. It’s made me check out the artists online anyway, via their own websites. Which is the only place I’d even contemplate buying their art.